Why our registration is voluntary?

Yoga Australia Statement

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Yoga Australia – Voluntary Registration Statement for Yoga Professionals

In Australia (and internationally) any person can conduct business as a yoga professional, including setting up a studio and offering teacher training courses without proof of experience, training standards or professional registration. Currently, there are no mandatory requirements for yoga professionals to have:

  • External recognition or registration with an approved professional body (such as Yoga Australia);
  • Professional and public liability insurance; and
  • First aid qualifications.

This situation poses questions about safety, which is intensified by the rapid growth of the industry and reported injuries from the practice of yoga. The debate has arisen about whether mandatory registration of yoga professionals would improve safety and other aspects of the industry. The situation is complex and there are persuasive arguments for and against compulsory registration, as summarised below.

The pros and cons of registration:

The likely benefits of registration are in terms of:

  • helping elevate yoga to a higher professional level (in line with other allied health fields) due to enhanced training and teaching skills;
  • improvements in safety with requirements for first aid qualifications (in case of emergency situations) and professional and public liability insurance (to provide redress if issues occur);
  • the potential for increased income for recognised yoga professionals; and
  • for the public being able to differentiate between registered and unregistered professionals.

On the downside, mandatory registration could lead to:

  • additional costs and bureaucratic, time-consuming paperwork, and standards to monitor;
  • division within the profession between registered and unregistered teachers;
    unified professional standards for safe and effective practice, which could stifle the freedom of individuals to teach and practice yoga as they choose;
  • prohibitive costs for registration ‒ for many teachers, yoga is a hobby or part-time activity with minimal income received (Yoga Australia Member Satisfaction Survey 2017).

Role of Yoga Australia

Yoga Australia has completed an analysis of the matter of registration. If registration was introduced it could focus on improving standards and safety within the profession, through introducing minimum standards of training; up to date insurance and first aid; ongoing professional development and adherence to professional codes of conduct.

While the Australian Government is not currently driving an agenda of regulation for the yoga industry, state and territory governments hold responsibility for developing, implementing and monitoring legislation governing the fitness industry.

The options for Yoga Australia are to work with the individual state governments to support:

1. No mandatory registration for yoga professionals.
2. Mandatory registration for all yoga professionals.
3. Mandatory registration for yoga therapists only.

At this stage Yoga Australia supports voluntary registration and will continue to monitor the issue.

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